Criminal Injustice in America

TUE, DEC 5, 2017 (1:25:29)

JCC Greater Boston convened a panel composed of a former prosecutor, criminal justice professor, civil rights attorney, sentencing reform activist, and a wrongfully convicted individual to explore racial inequities throughout the legal system. They discuss the criminal justice system's issues of racial bias, which have lead to a miscarriage of justice ranging from police violence and brutality to presumption of guilt and wrongful convictions.

In the post-Ferguson era, it is critical for many people with many voices to examine the role that race plays in the criminal justice system from policing to prosecuting.

(Image: Deval Kulshrestha/Lady Justice/CC BY-SA 4.0)

+ BIO: Anthony Ray Hinton

Anthony Ray Hinton is an Alabama African American man who was held on death row for nearly 30 years after being convicted of the murders of two restaurant managers in Birmingham, Alabama. While awaiting trial, his defense attorney told him," All of y’all Blacks always say you didn’t do something.

He was released in 2015 after being exonerated. He is also the author of the memoir The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

(Image: Equal Justice Initiative)

+ BIO: Rahsaan Hall

Rahsaan Hall is the Director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. In this role Rahsaan helps develop the ACLU of Massachusetts’ integrated advocacy approach to address racial justice issues. Through legislative advocacy, litigation and community engagement, the program works on issues that deeply impact communities of color and historically disenfranchised communities.

Prior to joining the ACLU of Massachusetts, Rahsaan was the Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice where his work included policy and legislative advocacy, community outreach, and maintaining a litigation caseload of voting rights, police misconduct and public accommodations cases. Rahsaan headed up the Voting Rights Project that included the coordination of the statewide Election Protection initiatives, voting rights litigation and his prior involvement in community coalitions on redistricting after the last decennial census.

+ BIO: Nicole Porter

Nicole D. Porter manages The Sentencing Project’s state and local advocacy efforts on sentencing reform, voting rights, and eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Her advocacy has supported criminal justice reforms in several states including Kentucky, Missouri, and California. Porter was named a "New Civil Rights Leader" by Essence Magazine in November 2014 for her work to eliminate mass incarceration.

Since joining The Sentencing Project in 2009, Porter's work has been cited in several major media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio. She has given a number of talks on state sentencing policy, collateral consequences, and racial disparity to various audiences including the League of Women Voters, NAACP, and the United Methodist Women's Assembly.

Porter is the former director of the Texas ACLU’s Prison & Jail Accountability Project (PJAP). PJAP’s mission was to monitor the conditions of confinement in state jails and prisons. Porter advocated in the Texas legislature to promote felony enfranchisement reforms, to eliminate prison rape, and improve prison medical care. Porter received her undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. Her master’s thesis addressed exploring self employment among formerly incarcerated African Americans. She also studied African Politics at the University of Ghana, West Africa.

+ BIO: Ronal Serpas, Ph.D.

Dr. Ronal W. Serpas is a Professor of Practice – Criminology and Justice, Loyola University New Orleans and recently retired from a 34-year career in American law enforcement. The last 13 years of his law enforcement career he served as the police superintendent in New Orleans, police chief in Nashville and chief of the Washington State Patrol. Serpas is a Past Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the current Chair of the IACP Community Policing Committee and a founding Co-Chair of the IACP Research Advisory Committee.

Serpas is the founding Co-Chair of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration. Serpas serves as an Executive Fellow to the Police Foundation, a National Advisory Board Member to Cure Violence and a National Advisory Board Member to the National Police Research Platform.

+ BIO: Benjamin Crump

Benjamin Lloyd Crump is an American civil rights attorney and founder of the Tallahassee, Florida-based law firm Ben Crump Law. He is known for his association with the 2012/2013 George Zimmerman case, and for representing the family of Michael Brown, a 17-year-old African-American man shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Partner
JCC Greater Boston